Griffo makes the ‘Top 100 Spirits,’ Petaluma food fairs aplenty, Christmas meals and more

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Mark your calendars

In my mind, there is no better holiday gift, whether giving or receiving, than something locally made. Not only does it give everyone a great taste of the flavors of our region, but helps support the plethora of local food artisans who help make Petaluma what it is. This weekend boasts three holiday craft and food fairs that will make your last-minute holiday shopping a breeze.

Live Oak Charter School’s Craft Faire is Friday, Dec. 14, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at their Petaluma Fairgrounds’ location. Just enter the front gate and follow the signs to plenty of great gift ideas from LaLa’s Jam Bar, Sonoma Spice Queen, Swayne Family Ranch’s olive oils, Healthy High’s superfood elixirs (teas and coffees), honey from Christine Kurtz, homemade granola from Roadside Stand, Gerald’s handcrafted and flavored chocolate-topped marshmallows and pizelle bars, Byerton’s roasted almonds (both sweet and savory), Joy’s hand-crafted fudges and toffees and Marie’s Baked Goods. Wreaths, bulbs and winter greens, air plants and wooden carriers will be available from Second Street Flowers, Lauren’s Landscape, Cahtrina Susoev and Michelle Loftin. Baytihome will have Moroccan home décor items. There will also be plenty of other gift ideas from jewelry to artwork to soaps to candles to kids toys, books music and clothing. This event benefits Petaluma Educational Foundation and Live Oak Charter School.

The Bank — Community Hub and Marketplace has taken over the former Seed Bank building at the corner of Petaluma Boulevard and Washington, with plans to transform the space into a market hall. They will introduce themselves to the community with their Holiday Pop-up Market this Friday through Sunday, Dec. 14 to 16, from noon to 7 p.m. with local artists, makers and live music. So far, they have 13 vendors lined up, including foodies such as Mariposa Creamery, Miyoko’s Creamery, Stella’s Table, True Delicious and Delicias Oaxaqueñas de Leo. The Cinnigals (Cinnibar ladies choir) and the Petaluma High School Jazz Band will provide live entertainment.

Bert’s Desserts will spearhead the 10th annual Holiday Wholesale Sale from its commercial kitchen space at 501 Lakeville St., on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15 and 16, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bert’s will be joined by Golden State Pickle Works, which was a big winners at this year’s Harvest Fair; Red Bird Bakery, Awesome Bars, Petaluma Creamery, What a Chicken and Vicki Martinelli, who is an author, jeweler and rock painter. Bert has rolled out a bunch of great desserts for the season, including her chocolate-covered Oreo cookies, but it’s her newest creation, chocolate-covered Nutter Butters, in dark and milk chocolate, that will have me stopping in for samples and some last minute holiday shopping.

Stockhome will hold Petaluma’s first “Julbord” — a traditional Swedish Christmas smorgasbord — on Saturday, Dec. 15, with seatings at noon, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. The restaurant will be closed to all regular service to accommodate this buffet-style meal, with communal seating. As is part of the holiday tradition, the meal will include herring, cured salmon, hot dishes and sweets. Thankfully, co-owner Andrea promises there will be no lutfisk. I have had it once, but never again. Instead, the meal will start with house-made glogg (mulled wine) and candied almonds and raisins. Herring will come three ways – mustard, grandma’s classic and saffron and leek, and is served with dill-cooked potatoes, sour cream, chives, red onions, Nordic cheeses, boiled eggs and rye crisps. The cold dishes will included gravlax (dill cured salmon), smoked salmon, sylta (pigs head terrine), rullsylta (shaved pork and lamb belly), pate, chicken liver mousse, pickled veggies, horseradish and Swedish holiday bread. For those looking for some warmth, hot dishes of julskinka (mustard-baked Christmas ham), Swedish meatballs, sausages, ginger-glazed spare ribs and Jansson Temptition will be on the menu, followed by desserts of Santa’s rice porridge and homemade kitchen treats. I am not quite sure how I am going to try everything, but trust me, if there is a way, I will find it.

The Shuckery Parlor, which sits in the lobby of Hotel Petaluma, will hold its annual holiday White Party on Friday, Dec. 21, starting at 7 p.m. Sample flurries, White Russians and other drink and food specials while enjoying live music. White attire is encouraged, or really get into the spirit and dress like a silver bell. In other excited news for beer drinkers, the Shuckery now serves the STS Pils from Russian River Brewing Company, makers of the famed Pliny the Younger. The STS Pils is a classic European pilsner, straw in color, hop forward, mild maltiness with a dry, bitter finish, and goes perfectly with all sorts of seafood dishes.

Restaurant news

Beyond the Glory has reopened after a change of ownership. BTG closed back in May and then was purchased in October by Jeff and Staci Inglin, who were founding partners of Seared Steak and Seafood, as well as being partners in the Athletic Edge Batting Cages, and owners of a landscape company that specializes in baseball field maintenance. Their partners in the BTG venture are David and Lucie Brown. Jeff and David are Casa Grande alum who both played collegiate and professional baseball. Jeff retired from the Chicago White Sox organization and David recently retired from the Oakland Police Department, and is currently a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker. When asked why they wanted to continue the space as Beyond the Glory, they said that the name fit them, and they wanted to continue BTG’s legacy of giving the community a place to gather and celebrate sports over good food, drink and friendship. While awaiting their liquor license, BTG’s hours are Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Once the liquor license is established, they will stay open until 10 p.m. on Fridays and 11 p.m. on Saturdays.

Reports are coming in that Lakeville Garden Sushi, which I reported last time had opened up next to Sarah’s Eats & Sweets, may have faltered. Guest are saying that they did not appear to be open this past week, with mail pilling up inside the door.

Small bites

Sarah’s Eats & Sweets is currently taking pre-orders for its Christmas sides and desserts. For those looking to cook their own ham or bird, Sarah’s makes it easy to cover the rest of the meal with sides like three cheese potato gratin ($22); roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon ($24); greens, roasted butternut squash, cranberries, candied pecans and citrus vinaigrette ($22); and savory cheddar biscuits ($24). Each item serves eight to 10 people and will come with heating instructions. Holiday dessert cakes are 8-inches and cost $36 for either gingerbread with cream cheese frosting and caramel drizzle or eggnog cheesecake with chocolate swirl. Individual desserts include crushed candy cane brownie ($3.50); cranberry lemon bar ($3.50); and assorted cookies ($12 per dozen) of Christmas sugar and gingerbread cut-outs, chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, peanut butter jelly thumbprints, funfetti, chocolate crackle and chewy almond. Additionally, for those looking to entertain in the morning, there are Christmas morning quiches of Yanni’s sausage, peppers and spinach ($24); Lorraine with ham and Swiss cheese ($24); and broccoli and cheddar veggie ($22). Orders can be made either over the phone or via email. Meal pick-up is Monday, Dec. 24, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Visit for more info.

Griffo Distillery’s Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur has received a second award in so many months. Last time, I reported that this collaboration between Petaluma’s Griffo Distillery and San Rafael’s Equator Coffees & Teas was a finalist in this year’s Good Food Awards. This week it was announced that this same liqueur was named to Wine Enthusiast’s list of “Top 100 Spirits of 2018.” This should come as no surprise given Griffo’s track record, earning a gold medal at the 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition for its gin, which is one of my favorite local spirits. Griffo has tasting bar hours on Friday (12:30 to 8 p.m.) and Saturday and Sunday (12:30 to 6 p.m.) so you can try it for yourself and pick up a few bottles for holiday gift giving.

Ethic Cider has a new release for the holidays called Montage 2017, which combines small lots of rare Sonoma County fruits. It is a blend of heirloom and estate bittersweet apples, along with pears and wild-harvested crabapples, all of which is aged in Hungarian oak. With notes of ripe pear, vanilla, orange peel and walnuts, this sparkler is dry and unfiltered, and pairs perfectly with hearty winter dishes like pork chops, butternut squash soup and roasted root veggies. Bottles are available at for $20.

Dempsey’s is helping Camp fire relief efforts by pouring frosty pints of Sierra Nevada’s Resilience IPA. The beer was brewed specifically to help fire victims.

This is how we do it

I had the honor of judging the inaugural Latke MasterChef competition at the Chabad Jewish Center of Petaluma this past weekend, alongside fellow Petaluma Jewish foodies Jan Rosen of Rosen’s 256 North, Sarah Meeks of Sarah’s Eats & Sweets and Jaret Dennis of Simply Strudels. Not only was it a great event, with wonderful fellowship and food, but I was reminded, yet again, why Petaluma is such a great place to live.

It really does have to do with the people, and I am such a big fan of all three of my fellow judges. They all bring something unique to Petaluma, and the fact that they were all willing to break away from their busy holiday schedules to participate in this event says a lot about their character and their love for our community. Once given the floor, I reminded everyone in the room that if we want to keep Petaluma what it is, we need to make sure we support these local business owners whenever we can.

And just to add a highlight to this thought, I received a very informative note from Lynne Moquete, a teacher and the department chair of human interaction at Casa Grande, as well as the executive director of Una Vida, whose mission is to empower impoverished families of rural Dominican Republic and Haiti (more info at Lynne wanted to let me know that along with making great food, Sarah’s Eats & Sweets, Petaluma Pie and Lunchette have all been donating food to locals in need. Because organizations like COTS won’t take pre-cooked/non-packaged foods, Lynne helps bridge the gap between families that could use some extra help and restaurants that make sure their extra food doesn’t go to waste. So please, during this season of giving, think about where you dine, and where you buy your holiday gifts, and choose the local businesses that give back to and support our community.

Advance preview

Rosen’s 256 North will have a New Year’s Eve bash, serving a limited dinner menu, including Maine lobster tails from 5 to 10 p.m. We had both Rosen’s Italian marscopone lemon cake and pumpkin cheesecake this past weekend for our birthday celebration and cannot recommend those both highly enough. Dancing will start at 9 p.m. to the music of the Humdingers. And, of course, with Jan Rosen being a New York native, it wouldn’t be a New Year’s celebration without party hats and a midnight champagne toast. Reservations required.

The Shuckery will start off the New Year with a singles party, including fun mixer games to help guests meet new friends. Tickets are $10 at the door with festivities, including light appetizers, kicking off at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 6. This event is co-sponsored by the Society of Single Professionals.

Wind & Rye Kitchen has announced new classes for the spring, which would make a great holiday gift for the chef in your family. Classes will delve into every aspect of culinary creations. Spring classes include “Cooking with Mushrooms” (Jan. 16), “Mastering Fried Chicken” (Jan. 27), “Home Remedies” (Jan. 30), “Kid’s Cake Decorating” (Feb. 2), “Handmade Pasta Series” (Feb. 7 and 26), “Children’s Valentine Treats” (Feb. 10), “Valentine’s Date Night” (Feb. 14), “Baking Basics” (March 10) and “Adult Cake Decorating” (March 16).

In case you missed it

There is still one more waltzing class on Sunday, Dec. 16, from 2 to 4 p.m. in preparation for the New Year’s Eve Viennese Ball, which starts around 8 p.m. at Hermann Sons Hall. The ball will include authentic Viennese food, a live Strauss orchestra and waltzing all night long. Waltzing lessons and tickets to the ball are available through Sky Hill also has tickets to the pre-ball Gala Concert, which celebrates its 10th year at the Petaluma Historic Museum and Library, starting at 6 p.m. and featuring string players from the San Francisco Orchestra.

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